NHL Power Rankings: Avs, Hurricanes Stay at the Top; Penguins Rise into Top 5
Once is a fluke. Twice is a coincidence. Three times is a trend.
And to consider the Colorado Avalanche's recent trend as anything but superb would be inaccurate.
No NHL team has won more games this season. No NHL team is riding an eight-game win streak. And no team has gone since early November since last losing on home ice.
Put it all together, and it spells a second straight week in the B/R weekly Power Rankings penthouse for Jared Bednar's club, which is 19-2-1 on home ice and hasn't at Ball Arena since November 3.
Colorado swept first-place votes on the panel to outdistance a top five that also included the Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Avalanche, Hurricanes, Panthers and Lightning have spent at least a week atop the rankings, but the Penguins cracked the top five for the first time after skipping up three positions.
Read on to see how the remaining spots were filled, and feel free to drop a note or two in the comments section to let our puck heads know where they got it right, and perhaps otherwise.
Editor's note: Votes were recorded before Wednesday night's games.
Nos. 32-26: Canadiens, Coyotes, Kraken, Flyers, Sabres, Senators, Devils
32. Montreal Canadiens (Last Week: 32nd)
The Canadiens have won just once in their past 10 games, and zero of those wins came in the past week, which instead yielded three losses by a combined 15-7 score. Eight goals came in Monday's loss at Minnesota, where Cayden Primeau surrendered five in two periods and Michael McNiven three in one.
31. Arizona Coyotes (Last Week: 31st)
The Coyotes were 17 minutes from a fifth win in 10 games on Tuesday before allowing the final four goals in a 6-3 loss to Pittsburgh. "We just mismanaged a couple plays, and you do that against high-skill players, they're going to make you pay," forward Nick Schmaltz said. "It's unfortunate."
30. Seattle Kraken (Last Week: 30th)
The Kraken dropped a 4-2 decision to Nashville on Tuesday to end a six-game homestand at 3-3, but they are still in last place in the Pacific Division—11 points behind Vancouver. "I really liked the formula that we've had to the homestand here and the purpose that we've played," coach Dave Hakstol said.
29. Philadelphia Flyers (Last Week: 27th)
It's hardly the record a team wants to hold, but the Flyers have dropped 13 straight after a 4-3 loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday, making them the first team to have two 10-game skids in the first 40 games of a season. "I'm sorry," team chairman Dave Scott said to the fans. "You deserve so much better."
28. Buffalo Sabres (Last Week: 29th)
The Sabres split the week's first two games with Dallas (loss) and Philadelphia (win), but a 5-0 loss at Ottawa wasn't a particularly good taste to end on. Additionally, the league gave goalie Aaron Dell a three-game suspension after he threw a hit that injured Senators forward Drake Batherson.
27. Ottawa Senators (Last Week: 28th)
Captain Brady Tkachuk was named to the Atlantic Division All-Star roster to replace Batherson, who had 34 points in 31 games, after the injury against the Sabres. "It's a bad play, and it's an unfortunate thing that a young kid's not going to be able to go to an All-Star Game," coach D.J. Smith said.
26. New Jersey Devils (Last Week: 26th)
The Devils won just once in four games for the week, which included an ugly 5-1 loss to visiting Dallas on Tuesday. But don't blame the power play, which has scored in five straight games and has nine goals in its past 12. "We like where we're at, and we're playing with confidence," forward Jack Hughes said.
Nos. 25-21: Blackhawks, Blue Jackets, Red Wings, Canucks, Sharks
25. Chicago Blackhawks (Last Week: 25th)
Chicago's skid had reached four games heading into Wednesday's 8-5 win in Detroit, and it was particularly troubling because of only six goals scored in that span. "We've still got to play free and enjoy this and be relaxed and not grip the stick," interim coach Derek King said. "But we also have to play with structure." The Blackhawks broke out in a big way in Motown with Dylan Strome recording his first career hat trick.
24. Columbus Blue Jackets (Last Week: 24th)
Three games in four nights from Thursday through Sunday yielded a pair of wins before the Blue Jackets were blown out 6-0 by Calgary on Wednesday. The other loss was a 35-save effort by Ottawa's Anton Forsberg in a 2-1 game. Forsberg was drafted by Columbus in 2011 and played 10 games with the team through 2016-17.
23. Detroit Red Wings (Last Week: 20th)
The Red Wings managed an OT point in a home loss to Dallas but followed up with a desultory 4-1 loss in Nashville in the second of a back-to-back on Saturday. The second line of Pius Suter, Tyler Bertuzzi and Robby Fabbri each scored in both the Stars and Blackhawks games. Detroit is 2-2-1 since the line was assembled.
22. Vancouver Canucks (Last Week: 23rd)
The Canucks plucked Patrik Allvin from Pittsburgh to make him the general manager to replace Jim Benning, who was fired in December. Allvin was assistant GM with the Penguins and helped win three Stanley Cups over 16 years. "Building a championship team in Vancouver is our goal," he said.
21. San Jose Sharks (Last Week: 17th)
A one-goal loss in Seattle and a 7-1 disaster at home against Tampa Bay preceded a four-game trip for the Sharks that began on Wednesday with a 4-1 win in Washington. Off the ice, defenseman Erik Karlsson is out until at least March after having surgery to repair a small muscle tear in his left forearm.
Nos. 20-16: Islanders, Jets, Oilers, Ducks, Kings
20. New York Islanders (Last Week: 22nd)
Two wins in three games got the Islanders a tick past .500, though they're still 15 points out of a wild-card playoff spot—albeit with five games in hand on Boston. Elsewhere, the organization took a blow when four-time Cup winner Clark Gillies died from cancer on Friday at age 67.
19. Winnipeg Jets (Last Week: 15th)
It's five in a row and six out of seven losses for the Jets, but 2020 first-round pick Cole Perfetti—who turned 20 on New Year's Day—had two assists Tuesday against Florida and is a game away from having his entry-level contract kick into its first year. "It's not surprising," forward Paul Stastny said of Perfetti's impact.
18. Edmonton Oilers (Last Week: 21st)
A little more shine in Edmonton this week after a pair of victories ended a seven-game losing skid, and TSN's Ryan Rishaug suggests there's a "strong sense" that the Oilers will land free agent Evander Kane (h/t David Staples of the Edmonton Journal). A decision, according to Rishaug, could come as soon as Thursday.
17. Anaheim Ducks (Last Week: 18th)
Four losses preceded a pair of victories for the Ducks against Boston and Tampa Bay heading into a Wednesday night's shootout loss in Toronto. Assistant coach Mike Stothers was behind the bench for Anaheim after boss Dallas Eakins tested positive for COVID-19 and assistant Geoff Ward couldn't cross the border.
16. Los Angeles Kings (Last Week: 16th)
The Kings got three of four points against the Devils and Rangers to begin a trip through metropolitan New York, and they will aim for another two against the Islanders on Thursday. "If we can get three out of four on the rest of the [six-game] trip, it's going to be a pretty good trip," captain Anze Kopitar said.
Nos. 15-11: Flames, Stars, Golden Knights, Capitals, Bruins
15. Calgary Flames (Last Week: 14th)
A loss in Edmonton meant the Flames helped their rivals end a long skid, but Calgary bounced back two nights later with an impressive 7-1 win against St. Louis before heading to Columbus on Wedensday and recording a statement 6-0 win, during which the Flames set a team record of 62 shots on goal.
14. Dallas Stars (Last Week: 19th)
The Stars responded to a home loss against the lowly Canadiens with four straight wins on the road in which they scored 18 goals and allowed 10. "There's no way we're making the playoffs without starting to win on the road," coach Rick Bowness said. "It's coming at a perfect time."
13. Vegas Golden Knights (Last Week: 13th)
Vegas went to OT twice and picked up five of a possible six points for the week, including a 34-save shutout for Robin Lehner against Washington on Monday. Lehner got a scare on a shot from the Capitals' Alex Ovechkin that dented bars on his mark. "I'm lucky it wasn't a little bit harder," he said.
12. Washington Capitals (Last Week: 9th)
The Capitals had played four straight one-goal games heading into Wednesday's 4-1 loss to San Jose, defeating Winnipeg and Ottawa in OT and losing to Boston and Vegas in regulation. Prior to playing the Sharks, Washington was 4-9 in games that extended beyond the third period.
11. Boston Bruins (Last Week: 11th)
The Bruins headed West for a three-game trip after dropping the finale of a seven-game homestand to Anaheim. Nevertheless, Boston won five of the seven games and is nine points up in the race for the final Eastern Conference wild-card playoff position following Wednesday.
Nos. 10-6: Predators, Blues, Wild, Maple Leafs, Rangers
10. Nashville Predators (Last Week: 12th)
A 4-2 win in Seattle on Tuesday was the third straight for the Predators after a four-game slide that dropped them out of first in the Central Division. "It's been good," said defenseman Matt Tennyson, who had three points in the three games. "Obviously, winning games is always a positive thing.”
9. St. Louis Blues (Last Week: 10th)
The Blues had won three straight and given up only four goals before Jordan Binnington surrendered seven in Calgary on Monday. Ville Husso played in the three wins and stopped 97 shots. He was named the league's second star for the seven-day stretch that ended on Sunday.
8. Minnesota Wild (Last Week: 8th)
Seventeen goals across three games in four nights makes for a good stretch for any team, and it's been a good spell for youngster Matt Boldy too. He has three goals and six points in seven NHL games. "The more confidence you play with, the better you're going to be," he said.
7. Toronto Maple Leafs (Last Week: 5th)
Toronto ended last week with a surprise loss to the Coyotes in Arizona but had won two of a subsequent three heading into Wednesday's shootout defeat of the Ducks. "We have a lot more to our game," captain John Tavares said. "We have to get back to the rhythm we had at earlier points."
6. New York Rangers (Last Week: 6th)
Offense hasn't been a recent issue for the Rangers, who have won five of six and scored at least three goals in each game—including 13 combined against Arizona (7-3 win) and Toronto (6-3 win). Looking ahead, longtime goalie Henrik Lundqvist will have his number retired Friday at Madison Square Garden.
Nos. 5-1: Lightning, Penguins, Panthers, Hurricanes, Avalanche
5. Tampa Bay Lightning (Last Week: 4th)
It's probably no surprise that the Lightning have won five out of their past six games and that they allowed no more than two goals in four of the wins. Veteran Brian Elliott made just his eighth start of the season on Saturday against San Jose and recorded 27 saves in a 7-1 triumph, the 260th of his NHL career.
4. Pittsburgh Penguins (Last Week: 7th)
Six straight wins and 27 goals across them signals a particularly successful stretch for the Penguins, who will host four more games on a six-game homestand before heading out on February 8. Transaction-wise, the team inked veteran forward Jeff Carter to a two-year extension worth $3.125 million annually.
3. Florida Panthers (Last Week: 3rd)
A five-game trip provided three wins for the Panthers, who return home to host Vegas on Thursday. Florida's third line scored three of five goals in Tuesday's win in Winnipeg. "We had a great start of the season but got split up, so it feels good to be back together," forward Mason Marchment said.
2. Carolina Hurricanes (Last Week: 2nd)
Two wins in three games this week made it four of five overall for the Hurricanes, who sit third in the Metropolitan Division following Wednesday but have four games in hand on the first-place Rangers. Forward Andrei Svechnikov has produced two points in each of his past five games and has 36 overall.
1. Colorado Avalanche (Last Week: 1st)
The Avalanche boast a 17-game home win streak stretching back to early November after Wednesday's date with Boston. "If guys are struggling a little bit, you can talk about something like this and it becomes bigger than just the two points," coach Jared Bednar said.